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Chambers Co. churches prepare for holidays during pandemic

Updated: Dec. 9, 2020 at 5:59 PM EST
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LANETT, Ala. (WTVM) - Pastors of churches in Chambers County said they are keeping their eyes on rising coronavirus numbers as they prepare for Christmas Eve services and other holiday festivities.

Wreaths and garland hang in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Lanett. This holiday season is a bit different because of the pandemic, but Pastor Ronnie Jordan is staying positive.

“In the midst of situations like this, we can still have joy and worship and things of that nature,” he said.

Jordan’s church has been holding in-person services for several months, plus streaming them virtually.

Offering both options, he said, has been a success.

“[The members] are happy to be here, especially those that are coming especially during this particular time of the year,” Jordan said. “Those that are home, they’re worshipping that way. So, we’re faring well.”

Ahead of Christmas and New Years, Alabama is seeing record high COVID-19 hospitalizations and daily case counts.

“We’re always concerned,” Jordan said.

He said they are screening members before entry, sanitizing, and more. He said the small congregation in a large sanctuary provides some comfort as well.

“We’ve become more and more comfortable with things, especially because we’re not packed with people right now,” he said.

Down the street at Pilgrim Baptist, Dr. Frederick James is taking a different approach.

“First, second, and third Sunday we’re virtual,” he said. “The fourth Sunday we have a park and praise service.”

James said his sanctuary doors will remain shut for a while, most likely until the coronavirus vaccine is widely available.

“I think the most fragile, the most susceptible people need to be vaccinated first before safely returning,” he said.

With that vaccine on the horizon and the holiday season here, James said there is hope.

“Seeing that we’re at end of the year, I think it helps us better realize what Christmas is all about,” James said. “And Christmas is really about hope.”

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